As the national government struggles with matters as basic as paperwork in facilitating the entry of Covid-19 vaccines into the country, local government units all over the land should still continue to prepare to roll out vaccination programs within their areas.
Since government intends to vaccinate millions of Filipinos, transportation and storage facilities will have to be in place so it can be distributed and kept as soon as the national government that has touted vaccines as the only solution to this problem more than six months ago can finally resolve its surprising level of unpreparedness in making it widely available as soon as possible.
For LGUs, cold storage facilities and biomedical refrigerators will be necessary components of any mass vaccination program, especially since most of the developed vaccines require storage at low temperatures. An investment in such equipment and facilities will be necessary because as the pandemic has taught us, vaccination will be an ongoing activity for communities that intend to restore a sense of normalcy and protect populations from future outbreaks.
Granted that the national government can get its act together, cold storage for Covid-19 vaccines will be urgently needed in the coming weeks and months and it is the responsibility of LGUs to be ready. Any investment in such equipment and facilities will also have long term benefits as long as vaccination programs are continuously rolled out. Aside from Covid-19, many other necessary vaccines require similar storage conditions and the LGUs that can ensure proper storage will retain the ability to inoculate their population from the many vaccine-preventable infectious diseases that have affected thousands and crippled societies in the past.
LGUs can still make up for the show of incompetence in government by having their own well-planned vaccination facilities and programs that are just waiting for the availability of the vaccine. A government that promised a vaccination program many months ago should have coordinated everything, not just the supply contracts. The transportation, proper storage, distribution, trained manpower and consumables are the responsibility of local governments should be ready to roll out once the vaccines arrive.*